Space Technology & Material Science on ISS Russian Segment

Experiment Plazma Crystal


Phase 1a. Investigation of plasma-dust structures in gas-discharge plasma of a high-frequency capacitive discharge.
Phase 1b. Investigation of plasma-dust structures in plasma of glow discharge of direct current.
Phase 2. Investigation of effect of UV space radiation on behavior of macro-particles charged by photoemission.
Phase 3. Investigation of plasma-dust structures in space environment exposed to UV Sun radiation, plasma flows and ionizing radiation.


Study of physical phenomena in plasma-dust crystals at different pressure levels of inert gas and power of HF generator in microgravity environment.

Science Hardware Used:

Plasma Crystal-3 Plus Hardware:

  • Experimental unit;
  • Turbopump;
  • Telescience equipment
    to control the process and record experiment results


  • Video tapes Hi-8 to record the generation process of plasma-dust structures;
  • PCMCIA card to record the experiment parameters (gas pressure, HF-radiation power, dust particle sizes, etc.)

Expected Results and Experiment Rusults:

For the first time it was found that there were formed three-dimensional ordered structures of micron-size heavily charged particles with a large parameter of imperfection (three-dimensional plasma crystal) with face-centered and body-centered lattices. It was shown that face-centered and hexagonal structures could coexist simultaneously. Excitation of dust component waves was performed, which makes it possible to obtain dispersion rations and study wave pattern. Nonlinear waves of dust component density were found. Areas with convective motion of charged macroparticles in liquid plasma ("plasma-dust vortices") were revealed; in so doing, particle behaviour differs significantly from that being observed under gravity conditions. A possibility was demonstrated to study macroparticle growth from gas phase under microgravity conditions.

ISS Crew

Shannon Walker WALKER

leg Novitskiy Novitskiy

Petr Dubrov Dubrov

Mark Vande Hei Vande Hei

Michael Hopkins Hopkins

Victor Glover Glover

Soichi Noguchi Noguchi